Mass Email Marketing 101: Sending Bulk Emails Safely and Confidently

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
12 minute read
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
12 minute read

With over 360 billion emails sent and received daily, it’s impossible to imagine that every single email is curated manually. Of course, most messages are bulk emails sent to a large volume of subscribers who are potentially a good fit, with or without some extra personalization.

But this doesn’t mean mass email marketing is necessarily bad – it’s just that you have to abide by certain laws, rules, and principles not to lay an egg with your high-volume email outreach. For starters, there are official Gmail email sender guidelines for senders who blast more than 5,000 emails daily (yes, you’re automatically a bulk sender if you hit this number).

And there’s more.

Source: GIPHY

 

Read on to learn how to do mass mailing with 99% deliverability and outstanding engagement.

What Is a Mass Email Campaign?

Obviously, you need to send a lot of emails to be considered a bulk sender, but how many exactly? And can you avoid the stigma by not crossing the threshold?

Unfortunately, most ESPs don’t disclose their mass mailing limits; for example, Yahoo classifies a bulk sender as “an email sender sending a significant volume of mail,” not giving any specific numbers. But what’s more important is how your mass emails perform: the higher the engagement and the lower the complaint rates, the more emails safely hit the inbox.

The High-Volume Email Marketing Benchmark to Proceed From

One mass email benchmark to consider is from Gmail. The famous ESP allows you to send 5,000 emails from the same primary domain within 24 hours before becoming a bulk sender.

Once you’re a bulk sender, different mailing rules apply. Moreover, the status never expires, at least if you use Gmail for mass email marketing.

Source: GIPHY

What Does It Mean to Be a Bulk Email Sender?

Being a bulk email sender is not a shame – mid-size and bigger businesses send emails en masse all the time – but this status means you must comply with additional requirements.

With Gmail, these include setting up SPF and DKIM email authentication for your domain, keeping spam rates below 0.3% in Postmaster Tools, placing a one-click unsubscribe link in marketing emails, and more. 

With other ESPs, the guidelines are different (here are the Yahoo guidelines).

Essential Bulk Mailing Compliance Requirements

One-click Unsubscribe (Yahoo & Gmail) You must ensure subscribers can unfollow your emails with a single click, placing the one-click unsubscribe link in the body of your promotional and marketing messages (for transactional emails, the link isn’t required). For all invalid unsubscribe links, email senders have two days to fix them so they still meet the requirement
List-Unsubscribe Header (Yahoo) You must implement the link-unsubscribe header so your subscribers can unfollow your newsletter without having to scroll down the email
Spam Rates Below 0.3% (Gmail) You must try to keep your spam rates in Postmaster Tools below 0.1% to remain resilient to possible spikes in user feedback and avoid them reaching 0.3% at all times.

Here are the differences between regular and bulk emails:

The difference between regular and bulk emails across five key aspects: volume, goals, tools, deliverability, and compliance

Bulk Emails vs. Transactional Emails

Before I dig deeper into sending mass emails, let me clarify what does not belong to mass email marketing: transactional emails. These non-promotional emails are triggered by a user’s actions like confirming an order, resetting a password, checking the delivery status, or requesting a receipt and do not require an opt-in.

The difference between bulk and transactional emails across five aspects: primary goal, content format, opt-in, sending schedule, and compliance

Mass Email Marketing Best Practices

#1 Make Sure Your ESP Can Handle the Volume

No matter how magnificent your emails are, it only matters if they land in the inbox. For this, your EPS must have the required processing capacity. If you exceed the sending limit, your emails may be throttled (delivered at a slower rate), marked as spam, or blocked altogether.

In practice, getting the required sending volume boils down to upgrading the plan with your ESP. For testing purposes, you might be content with a free account on Gmail (500 free emails daily), Microsoft Outlook (300 free emails daily), or MailChimp (2,000 free emails daily).

➥   Pro Tip: For bigger campaigns, inform your ESP about the upcoming mass email campaign, including its features and differences from previous campaigns. It’s like informing a bank about a large transaction—do it to be on the safe side.

But then again, the more emails you send, the harder it is to ensure quality, relevance, and compliance. Sending 500 emails daily doesn’t require the accuracy and responsibility you need when blasting millions of emails at a time.

#2 Only Hit Verified Subscribers (Double Opt-In)

Quality beats quantity. Sending emails to the left and right won’t make sense if the receiver on the other end doesn’t engage. Unsolicited emails will decrease your sender’s reputation, increase bounce rates, and hardly give you any extra conversions.

Source: GIPHY

 

On the other hand, confirming the user’s desire to receive emails will help you leave only relevant subscribers in your mailing list, ensuring higher deliverability, engagement, lower complaint rates, and more conversions down the road.

Suppression List Management Software to Keep Your Email List Clean and Effective

 

As your email list grows, keeping it clean and effective becomes increasingly harder, but not if you’re using advanced suppression list management software that automates email scrubbing, eliminates duplicates & invalid addresses, and ensures full compliance.

Opt-Intel does all of that:

 

As an integral part of Phonexa’s comprehensive performance marketing system, Opt-Intel simplifies opt-outs and unsubscribe list management and guarantees adherence to regulations like CAN-SPAM, upholding your brand identity.

Here are some crucial features of Opt-Intel:

  • Email list scrubbing: No matter how big your email list is, automated email scrubbing only takes minutes to eliminate duplicates and invalid addresses, completing the initial cleansing
  • Suppression list unification: You can share your suppression lists and preferences with your other teams and across platforms while monitoring suppression compliance through reporting
  • Granular reporting: Knowing your daily opt-outs can give insights into unsubscribe trends so you can revert the process or adjust your strategies the best way possible

Here’s a sneak peek into Opt-Intel:

Want to know more? Book a demo with Phonexa experts.

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Read Also: 6 Strategies for Using Suppression Lists to Boost Email Performance

#3 Segment Your Subscribers by Relevant Criteria

Blasting emails in thousands isn’t hard – you can do it with a single click with modern ESPs – but these emails must resonate with subscribers to be effective. For this, you need granular segmentation and personalized email sequences for each subscriber group.

Here are some common email segmentation practices:

Demographics The more you know about your subscribers, the easier it is to segment them by location, age, gender, income, education, marital status, and other criteria that make sense for your mass email campaigns.

Sometimes, the need for segmentation is obvious: in the clothing business, you must run different campaigns for males and females; if you install solar, you need subscribers from locations where you have installation teams.

Behavior & Engagement Segmenting email sequences based on previous behavior and purchase and engagement history can also increase engagement and boost sales. Some subscribers might need extensive nurturing, some – re-engagement, and some might be ready to make a purchase.
Psychographics Psychographic segmentation is more advanced, requiring knowledge or at least an educated guess about your subscribers’ lifestyle, values, beliefs, motivations, and pains. However, discovering your clients’ personalities allows you to develop the right marketing hooks for them.

#4 Use Omnichannel Marketing for Better Engagement

Since most email subscribers move back and forth between marketing channels – website, blog, social media, online & physical stores, etc. – collecting the data across these channels is paramount for knowing your audience well.

The good news is that you don’t have to track everyone manually—comprehensive lead tracking and management systems like Phonexa can dissect the omnichannel marketing journey while ensuring full compliance in your jurisdictions.

Here’s the lead tracking toolkit at Phonexa, among other performance marketing tools:

LMS Sync Lead tracking, distribution, and analytics software ensure your leads are directed to the best buyer while you are collecting exhaustive customer insights.
Call Logic Call tracking, distribution, and analytics software ensures your calls are routed to the best-matching operator while you get full insights on the call.
E-Delivery Bulk email software ensures high deliverability and includes granular geographic & behavior segmentation, real-time reporting, integration with multiple ESPs, and more.
Lynx Click tracking and distribution software allows you to track clicks and conversions in real-time for the leads you buy or sell, including traditional and affiliate marketing campaigns.
HitMetrix On-site behavior tracking software tracks, analyzes, and visualizes website & form interactions, including heatmapping and session replays.

Want to explore the rest of Phonexa’s toolkit? Take a product tour now.

Take a product tour

#5 Use Different IP Addresses for Transactional and Marketing Emails

First of all, make sure you’re using a dedicated IP address for your mass email campaigns—otherwise, your reputation will depend on the other users of this IP. By the same logic, your domain-level reputation affects all IP addresses that belong to this domain.

➥   Pro Tip: The reputation of the image hosting services or link shorteners you use when embedding links or images in your emails also affects your sender’s reputation. Choose only credible image hosting domains that regularly screen their users.

When it comes to IP addresses and mass emailing, there are two underlying principles:

  • Have different IPs for transactional and marketing emails. Ensuring transactional emails like order confirmations reach the inbox is crucial, so you don’t want your marketing emails to affect transactional emails. Likewise, sending different email types from different IPs can help you comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Have different IPs for best and worst-performing campaigns. For serious senders, you might also want to allocate different IPs for different campaigns so the low-engagement emails don’t affect top-performing emails.

The optimal number of IPs you need for mass emailing depends on the campaign scale, the performance of your emails, and your risk tolerance. For 500,000 emails, even 2 IPs might be enough. However, if you send millions of emails daily, you might need an extra IP for every two million emails or so (the more emails you send overall, though, the fewer IP addresses you need for the same mailing volume).

#6 Warm-Up New IP Addresses Before Blasting Thousands of Emails

When you start sending mass emails from a new IP address, start slow, warming up this IP within two weeks to a month, depending on the volume you’d like to send. Do the warm-up even if the new IP address belongs to the domain you’re already using.

There’s no universal ramp-up schedule, so I’ll leave you with a general one: start with 50 emails on the first day and double the volume every subsequent day. This way, you will be able to send over a million emails in two weeks and almost any number of emails in a month.

Source: GIPHY

 

#7 Remove Inactive Subscribers from Your Email List

As a proper marketer, you want to re-engage inactive subscribers before writing them off. However, futile re-engagement efforts can backfire if you try for too long without any results. Therefore, if they don’t engage for long, just let them go.

The best practice would be to gradually decrease the mailing frequency before removing the subscriber from the list. Suppression list management like Opt-Intel can help keep your subscriber list fresh at all times.

How To Send Multiple Emails in Gmail

As I’ve already mentioned, you can test mass mailing for free. In Gmail (individual focus), this requires creating dozens of accounts because you can only send 500 emails daily. In Gmail Workspace (business focus), you can send 2,000 emails daily, even though free accounts are more likely to be marked as spam.

So here’s how to mass email from Gmail:

  1. Create as many Gmail (or Gmail Workspace) accounts as you need
  2. Create the email you’re going to blast
  3. Add the recipients manually or (recommended) by importing a CSV file
  4. Hit the “Send” button to start the outreach immediately or schedule it for later.

 

Sending bulk emails from Gmail is easy, but you’re limited in the number and can’t track your performance. These limitations make Gmail suboptimal for serious mailing campaigns, so most businesses use dedicated solutions like MailChimp or comprehensive systems like Phonexa.

Synergize Mass Emails with Other Campaigns with Phonexa

I’ve already touched on Opt-Intel as a valuable helper for bulk email campaigns, and now it’s time for the centerpiece software to shine. Meet E-Delivery, a mass email and SMS automation solution that will revolutionize your email campaigns with unprecedented deliverability and engagement.

E-Delivery ensures that every email lands where you need it to—the inbox—and makes the expected impact on the subscriber. Advanced features like multi-ESP integration, in-message URL tracking, and failover automation help you get the most out of your campaigns.

 

Here’s the complete Phonexa performance marketing software suite, all at a single price (subscription price calculator):

LMS Sync Lead tracking & distribution
Call Logic Call tracking & distribution
E-Delivery Bulk email & SMS automation
Cloud PBX Integrated virtual contact center solution
Lynx Conversion rate optimization tool
Opt-Intel Suppression list management
HitMetrix User behavior recording & analytics 
Books360 Automated accounting software

Get your all-in-one performance marketing software suite now, or book a demo to learn more about Phonexa.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to send mass emails?

The best way to send mass emails is to make sure your EPS supports the sending volume you need and the emails themselves are relevant, well-crafted, and comply with relevant local and global regulations like CAN-SPAM in the United States, CASL in Canada, and GDPR in Europe.

What are the limits to sending bulk emails?

The limits to sending bulk emails vary depending on the ESP and the subscription plan, starting from around 300 emails per day for free plans and reaching 10,0000 million emails per month and more for paid plans.

No matter the size of your business, you can easily find an ESP that will allow you to send the required number of emails per day or month. A much more challenging task is ensuring all these emails are well-written, personalized, and sent at the right time.

Is sending mass emails legal, and can it be penalized?

Sending mass emails is legal if you comply with the relevant regulations: CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR. These policies are designed to protect users from unsolicited and downright malicious emails, and non-compliance can result in fines that depend on the jurisdiction, the severity of the case, and the sender’s turnover.

Got Questions?

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Oleksandr Rohovnin avatar
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a Content Marketer at Phonexa. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At Phonexa, Oleksandr stokes passion for marketing automation and lead generation in every story he curates.


Education: Zaporizhzhya National Technical University

Expertise: Digital marketing, affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead tracking, insurance

Highlights:

  • 8+ years of writing and editing experience in B2B and B2C

  • Unconventional synergy of writing talent and technical knack

  • Avid proponent of sports, gaming, and reading

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